Nontokozo Madonsela, Group CMO Momentum Metropolitan Holdings and 2019 FM AdFocus jury member. Picture: SUPPLIED
Nontokozo Madonsela, Group CMO Momentum Metropolitan Holdings and 2019 FM AdFocus jury member. Picture: SUPPLIED

It is a fact that marketing budgets continue to be under pressure, particularly at present with low economic growth. They are the softest of targets when executives look to cut costs.

This is compounded by the increasing fragmentation of the market, which requires brands to be present on more platforms than the traditional ones. This leads us to think that we need more money to deliver great work and reach more consumers, who themselves are increasingly platform agnostic as far as the media they consume is concerned.

But to get bang for your marketing buck, you need to be smart and brave.

I often say: “Give me R100m, I will make you magic. Give me R1,000, I will still make you magic.”

To achieve this magic with less money in the marketing kitty requires strategic focus, bold ideas and integrated planning. I have come to realise over the past few years of working with diminishing marketing budgets that as a marketer, you need to free yourself from the belief that big budgets enable your joy.

One of the key ingredients is the quality of work – it has to be distinct in a world full of clutter. It’s easier said than done, of course, but it is very much possible.

Here are some key steps you need in this process: 

  1. Have the right people around the table from your business and creative partners to ensure integration from the beginning. Do not make the mistake of leaving PR and Digital to last in this process. This still happens – a lot.
  2. Confirm alignment of marketing and business objectives. You need to ensure agreement on this from the get-go and be open to refining your thinking and outcomes as you get input (especially from business stakeholders).
  3. Tap into powerful human truths and insights. It helps to be intentional about the link to your category or business when this insight lands – in other words, what is the role of your business in this?
  4. Check that the idea is emotionally engaging even if the focus is on functional benefits. The truth about humans being emotional still holds.
  5. Avoid doing the obvious. The target audience is overwhelmed with a flood of communication every second. Doing the expected won’t get your work noticed.

A lot of money is not necessarily the silver bullet in how you enable your brand to effectively reach the desired consumers.

You need some money, of course, but if you are conscious of the above-mentioned steps, this integrated and inclusive approach will help to unleash your brand’s magic in the hearts and minds of consumers.

• Since their inception in 1990, the FM AdFocus Awards have established themselves as the leading platform for individuals and agencies to be recognised not only for their creative marketing skills, but for their overall business acumen as well. The awards have grown to become a landmark on the SA marketing and communications landscape by celebrating advertising effectiveness. The FM AdFocus Awards take place on November 27 2019.